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Yay….fancied a bit of Elder Scrolls Online, the newest monster that has crawled, blinking and growling into the daylight of the MMO world.
So I brought up the launcher and….oh…..European Megaserver offline for maintenance. Now I logged on yesterday afternoon and got the same thing. I am assuming that it was online in between time, but who knows.
Since its official launch I have lost track of the amount of time the servers, North America and European, have been offline for maintenance. It seems to be happening with painful irregularity in fact. World of Warcraft used to have every Wednesday morning for maintenance, which was fine because you could simply not bother to try and log in. Another example, The Secret World, the Lovecraftesque horror MMO, appears to rarely go offline for such maintenance at all. I certainly don’t ever recall the same level of log-on frustration.
Now admittedly, ESO is the new kid on the block, but repeated maintenance does give me personally the idea that they are still fixing things that should have been sorted prior to release. I guess its a common thing in games today. Back in the day, people simply wouldn’t release a game until it was a full game, but with the internet, game producers seem to have become lazy, and I suspect, greedy too. If you release a game incomplete, with enough bugs to give an Egyptian plague a run for its money, you can simply fix the bits you didn’t have time to sort out via the net, in patch form, or in the above case, maintenance. But the sooner you release a game, the quicker you can get money from consumers. With MMO’s, you can get an estimate of your potential profit from credit details. And with MMO’s in particular, you really have a consumer market that is a hostage to your game really. Basically they can’t do much about you offlining your game because you have their details already.
ESO had a lot of Beta testing with millions participating but still release issues continue.
Now Ive played the game since release and to be honest, despite various novel approaches to the genre, I’m not really wow’d by it. It continues to remain vanilla in many areas with nothing original jumping out at the player. I was playing Everquest prior to release and have to say I really enjoyed it, while ESO appears a little same same, but different. There are nice touches like the group delves, and a new land to enjoy, but mechanically, it won’t be pushing any boundaries in the MMO field. Personally, I feel its appeal was firmly aimed at people who loved Skyrim and its forebears. For originality The Secret World is unbeatable in that respect and its free to play, while ESO firmly sits in the Blizzard model.
In fact, in the genre of MMO, the concept of Free to Play (FTP), is the only advance evident in today’s market, though arguably a bit profit based. I played Lord of the Rings Online and despite the rather vicious FTP aspect (you had to play for zones, or they would simply appear empty of quests etc), I still enjoyed it, with paying for a zone would give you days and days of play.
With respect to ESO, fair enough I haven’t advanced that fair, with my characters at level 20, the level cap being 50, but I really can’t see any changes occurring beyond land scenery, but we will see…if I actually get a chance to play the game free of maintenance.


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